I’ve been reading the Summa Theologica so much I’ve started arguing with myself in the way of St. Thomas Aquinas, a rough and desperate version running through my head amidst the daily quagmire. For instance the other day, in the Third Part of the day, I asked myself a Question.
“Whether it is fitting that I should be called the mother of these children?”
Objection 1: It would seem not, for mothers are wise, kind, and loving, but when I am reduced to screeching like a deranged heathen, it does not seem fitting that I should be called anyone’s mother.
Objection 2: Further, the essence of a motherhood is gentleness, guiding children in the precepts of moral life, and I often chase quarreling kids out of the kitchen with a wet towel, which is not gentle guidance, so the title of mother is not fitting.
Objection 3: It is written, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” (Ephesians 6:1) Obey? They don’t even listen, unless they are asking for food, money or transportation.
On the contrary: It is written (CCC 1657) that, “the father of the family, the mother, children, and all members…exercise the priesthood of the baptized in a privileged way.” Yes, this is my family, so they are my children, therefore, it is fitting that I should be called their mother.
I answer that: I know, I know. The home is where children learn first about Christian life, and by committing to “the reception of the sacraments, prayer and thanksgiving” then we will grow in virtue and charity in spite of our sinful natures. The home is the “first school of Christian life.” We have a responsibility to create a home where tenderness, forgiveness, respect, fidelity, and service are the rule. (CCC 2223)
Reply to objection 1: I am their mother in two senses. First, I am their physical mother because they depend on me to nurture them. Second, I am their spiritual mother because the family is the domestic church.
Reply to objection 2: “By knowing how to acknowledge their own failings to their children, parents will be better able to guide and correct them.” Alright, there are plenty of learning opportunities.
Reply to objection 3: “Whoever obeys the Lord will refresh his mother.” (Sirach 3:6) Yes, even on the worst days I have but to hear their refreshing little prayers, and realize that truly it is only by God’s grace that is it fitting that I should be called their mother.
Only 3,000 more questions to go!